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Study Abroad Programs in Florence, Italy
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Study Abroad Programs in Florence, Italy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

More than I could have ever hoped

My study abroad experience with FUA was spectacular. Arriving in Rome, the directions were pretty clear. And of course when you get off the plane you're nervous because you know no body else speaks english as their first language. I tried to use the little bit of Italian I know to help understand how to get to where I was looking. FUA administrator Alessandro was at the airport with a sign clearly stating FUA. Our luggage was taken from us to be sent straight to Florence. We were staying in Rome for the next two nights to tour the city. And that we did, with Umberto Gori as our guide. We toured the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Basilica de San Pietro, the Pantheon, and almost all the historical monuments in Rome. The dainty, traditional Italian meals that were paid for by the program were definitely a surprise to me, but ended up being a huge plus to the program. I ate the best food of my life and learned so much about the Italian cuisine. Included in the cost of the tuition was the semester travel week, included with accommodation in boutique hotels and restaurants. Starting in Rome, we traveled north to Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, and stopped in the small medieval towns of Italy. We ate local chocolate and pastries traditional of the place, we tasted wines and vinegars, it as really delightful and almost dreamy. Over the course of 7 days, me and about 30 other American university students traveled on a bus north to Florence. The cultural introduction class as by far the best part of this program.

As a class, we also went on two other weekend trips to Venice (Venezia) and Turin (Torino). These were also all accommodated and included meals, which was absolutely lovely, but surprising at the same time. The trip to Turn included a paid ticked to The National Cinema Museum, a wine tasting and tour in Langhe, Italy, in the wine county of Piemonte, and a guided tour of the city.

Our trip to Venice included accommodation and transportation, a guided tour of the Dodges Palace, a guided tour of the city, a tour of a Venetian palace from antiquity, and a group meal.

As for academics during the semester at FUA, I loved all my classes and excelled because of the performance of the teachers and the community. I took four art classes Tuesday-Thursday: Painting, Words and Emotions: The Mind Map to Creativity, Straw Hat and Bag Design: A Florentine Dynasty, Introduction to Fashion Photography, Introduction to Landscape and Architecture Photography. My academics went smoothly throughout the semester. I went out a lot less at night than my peers did because I was invested in creating things, making art. I had a great routine of doing work, in and out of the studio. I had the opportunity to work in the universities design lab with Gaia, Nichole, and Francesca who were all really helpful and knowledge women in the fashion field to learn from. FLY, the universities design school, put on a runway shows of our creations which was a great opportunity I can now put into my portfolio. In all my classes there as always outside opportunity to enter and show your art into public art shows or participate in a community arts event. Of course accompanied with an evening apperitivo. I have work that I am proud of from each class, valuable work to add to my portfolio from each different field of study. And more importantly, I gained tools from each class to move forward professionally and practically in the arts. I definitely think one day I will return to FUA whether just an a visitor or a career student.

Overall, my housing situation was good. I stayed in an apartment with 6 other students, all American university students. I didn't know any of them, but we all got along smoothy for the most part and continue to keep in connection now. On the plus, we lasted all semester in our third floor Florentine flat! Our landlady lived directly above us, so sometimes that could be problematic. Everything was handled well and compromised in the end. The Florence apartments are extremely old fashioned, keep that in mind! There is no dryer, a smaller washing machine, windows in the shower, paintings on the walls. They are fragile, and their owners that that seriously. There is always going to be construction going on where ever you live in Florence, but that is part of the experience of living like a Fiorentine. I'd go back in a second to live in that apartment on Borgo San Fredano in the Santo Spirito neighborhood, minus the cot sized bed hopefully. There was awesome and affordable restaurants with free wine for students, coffee/wine bar and lounges, a live music and jazz club, a gelataria on the corner, pizza joints, a grocery store, artisan retail shops all within a few blocks from our neighborhood, about four blocks from the Ponte Vecchio. When i walked to the university for class, I walked about 20-25 minutes there, and the same back home. When I walked to the design lab, almost daily, I walked 30-35 minutes there, and the same back, sometimes in the dark. I suggest having a walking buddy in Florence, especially during the night. I was always fine, but try and assume you know where you are going, keep your pocketbooks and purses zipped, tightened, buckled and on your person. I've seen pick-pockets happen. Be weary of the street con-artists in Florence, people will try and sell you things, take pictures with you for money or get close to you to try and steal from you the things in your pocket. Just keep your awareness keen while walking in very crowded and small streets and alleyways. You'll be fine!

Unfortunately, FUA doesn't affiliate with UMass Amherst, so the cost of tuition as more than what I pay to go to school at my home university. The experience, was well worth it! I 10/10 recommend this program!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

A pizza my heart

Florence, Italy will always have a piece of my heart. I learned so much about Italy, and about myself while abroad. My classes were interesting and I was always excited to go. Traveling the country and other parts of Europe was great.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

An experience of a lifetime

Studying abroad in Florence was a wonderful experience. The CIS staff were accommodating, resourceful, and very kind. The professors at FUA were understanding to our various education backgrounds. Florence was an amazing city to roam around. Not only did I see many cities in Italy, but I traveled to various other countries in Europe. By studying abroad, I was immersed into several different cultures. Having the opportunity to travel and create these lasting memories was an experience of a life-time. I encourage everyone to embrace the journey and make the most of it. You will not regret it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    9

The best semester yet

After living in the city for almost four months, Florence easily became a second home to me. FUA provided endless opportunities to really become immersed with all aspects of the Italian culture. I wouldn't have traded my experience for anything!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    8

Study Abroad Florence

Excellent program. I was extremely impressed by how organized it was. There was always someone to go to with questions or concerned. I felt safe and secure the entire time there. From what I've heard about other programs, this seems to be the best put together.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

There's no better place than Florence.

I have found that traveling invigorates the soul, opens the eyes, and leaves us with greater understanding of just how we fit in this not so big world we each call home. Florence will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    8

FUA

I enjoyed studying at FUA because my professors were really great! The classes were easy and it didn't feel like I was going to school. The EFT trips through FUA were amazing! I had two of them included in my program and they were some of the best trips I took while studying abroad.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    8

Florence

I loved the courses that I took, I wish I had researched Florence more before I decided to study abroad there, it is a very touristy city, and a lot of people speak english, which I think hinders the Italian learning experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    2

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Everything Great except housing and housing coordinator

Studying abroad was the best experience of my life, and I hope I can do it again before I graduate. The people of my program were fantastic as well as the locals. The only problem I had with FUA was the housing and housing coordinator. My apartment was almost a half hour walk from the school, which isn't all that bad, but who wants to walk a half hour at 8 in the morning. My apartment was the only one this far away, which made it very difficult to interact with the other people of my program since they all had housing closer together near the school. In addition, the housing coordinator for FUA was rude and, at times, unhelpful. We would put in work orders and no one would come for weeks if at all. If I were to do it all again, I would want to be much closer to the school. Yes, I could have bought a bike, but I shouldn't be forced to buy one because they decided to put me so far away from the school. Anyway, studying abroad is a great experience.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Community

    6

Not Accommodating

I had a great experience in Florence, however the student life staff was not accommodating by any means. I had the worst experience with housing I have ever had, and it no ways were they accommodating to my situation.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Italy was AMAZING

FUA made my study abroad experience amazing! From the first moment I got off the plane I was welcomed as a part of the FUA family. I met so many life long friends, learned Italian, gained a ton of business knowledge, and became more comfortable in my own skin. It was a trip that I will always cherish. I wish I could go back!

Academics:
I loved all of my teachers. I still keep in touch with several of them.

Living Situation:
I did a home stay. At first I was nervous, as I knew no Italian. However, the home stay was one of the best parts of my study abroad experience. The Andreini/ Hoger family was so friendly. They are my second family, and I still keep in touch with all of them.

Program Administration:
Everyone at FUA was so friendly, upbeat, and helpful.

Health and Safety:
I never once felt unsafe.

Social Life:
There is never a dull moment! Live your life to the fullest!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    4

  • Community

    6

The Most Incredible City

Florence is one of the most amazing cities I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Not only is it beautiful, but there is so much to see and do. The food is impeccable--I've never had such fresh ingredients. Definitely get to learn at least some of the language. Even though most people speak English, I always felt that they treated you nicer if you made the effort to communicate in their language.
I loved how small the city was too. Because of it's size, it was easier to navigate than other European cities (despite my getting lost almost constantly in the beginning). There are so many things to discover in Florence, and once you get the city mapped out in your head, you start to find all sorts of things: markets, parks, piazzas, cafes, and (my favorite) secret bakeries.

Academics:
The teachers were very nice and very helpful.

Living Situation:
While our apartment was spacious, there were many things wrong with it that took a long time to fix. Also, the location was out of the way. I didnt feel safe all the time.

Cultural Immersion:
FUA made a wonderful effort to get students to immerse themselves in the culture. There were many opportunities to do so.

Program Administration:
While everyone tried to be helpful, they often did not respond quick enough. Also, I wish there were more group trips, such as the one in Sicily (even though this trip was not very well organized: we barely had enough time to see the city on our own).

Health and Safety:
Many people get things stolen from them when they are being careless--I had my iPhone stolen.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

Viva L'Italia

Studying abroad through FUA in Italy was one of the best opportunities of my life. I definitely recommend it for everyone. FUA teaches courses in English so it's not the most immersive, but it is still a great experience and they have many educational opportunities to explore Italy.

Academics:
Connecting Cultures at FUA was one of my favorate parts of my study abroad experience. It enabled me to interact and gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the Italian culture.

Living Situation:
My apartment had its hickups, but I loved it. It had character and I miss it very much.

Cultural Immersion:
In general FUA is not very immersive as a program. Though your neighbors are Italian, classes are not taught in Italian, and it is sadly too easy to go through your stay without properly experienceing the culture. If it weren't for the connecting cultures program I don't think I would have gotten the chance to experience the culture as much as I did.

Program Administration:
The administration was helpful and fun. Everyone is very kind and genuinely cares about your success.

Health and Safety:
If you are conscientious of yourself and your surroundings you will be fine. Italian culture is different (people don't walk alone at night, women dress more conservatively, etc.), if you try to fit into the culture you will have no problems.

Social Life:
I made lifelong friends with my roommates and other members of my program and see them all the time now in the states.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Outstanding

I had a wonderful experience at this school. It really made me appreciate learning because I was actually interested in the topics I chose to study. My teachers were so inspiring and helpful. Living in Florence was a dream come true and I wish I never had to leave!

Academics:
I had a wonderful experience with the digital arts department. I took 2 photography classes and they were my all time favorite. The teachers had passion, extraordinary skills and interesting lessons.

Living Situation:
I lived in a fantastic apartment with access to a courtyard. The yard had an orange tree and it put a smile on my face every morning.

Cultural Immersion:
Because so many people speak English, it was hard to learn Italian. Also if you didn't go to the right bars, you got a typical American experience because there are so many students.

Program Administration:
Everyone was very nice and helpful!

Health and Safety:
Felt very safe.

Social Life:
Always something to do.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

FUA is awesome

FUA was a great program academically and socially. I learned a lot and made many new friends with FUA. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Social Life:
A lot of clubs, bars and restaurants all within walking distance

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

The perfect place to fine-tune my Culinary Arts degree...

I studied Culinary Arts at Apicius (part of FUA) and had the most positive experience. Not only were the classes challenging and well-run, but I have come away with an appreciation for Italian culture that is so much more than just food-based. There are ample opportunities to discover the area and explore outside the city as well, the school offers many options. They also make sure you know you have a support system while you are there. The instructors that I had were very knowledgeable and filled with a passion for their subject. I found living and studying in Florence to be very accommodating in most ways and there is no end to the beauty that surrounds you - the art, history, architecture, people, etc - it is the opportunity of a lifetime to study here.

Academics:
Programs and classes were challenging and well-run. Professors were organized, extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects.

Living Situation:
I had my own apartment independent of FUA, so this does not really apply - I think.

Cultural Immersion:
My 'adoptive' Italian family was wonderful- incredibly generous with their time. This opportunity to be matched with a family added more that I could have imagined to an already amazing experience.

Program Administration:
The admin is always available and very helpful. They all wear many hats and can help with just about anything. Very personable as well.

Health and Safety:
No issues whatsoever. Never felt unsafe and the the school does give a very practical briefing during orientation about steps to take to stay safe.

Social Life:
I am a non-traditional student (adult) so my social activities may have been different than the average college student. I enjoyed a very good social life while in Florence - I met lots of people with similar interests and made some good connections.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Whoa baby.

Great learning experience. Wish there was a way to ditch the cluster of drunk Americans that continually filled my apartment, but hey, that's all in the learning experience. Thankfully, as an older student, I was able to explore, learn, grow and appreciate on my own and had a wonderful semester.

Academics:
Teachers were excited about the topics and encouraged open discussion in the class

Living Situation:
Too many people in one apartment...

Cultural Immersion:
Americans have a huge problem accepting that they can purchase alcohol legally overseas under 21. Hindered my ability to connect with the culture due to the negative stereotypes.

Program Administration:
Good people. Jess Volpe rules.

Health and Safety:
No worries the entire time. Felt very safe.

Social Life:
Made friends from around the states and around the world! Great time staying away from the party lifestyle and just appreciating the company of people.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    8

Florence Summer 2013

I am very thankful I chose FUA as my access to education while I traveled abroad. The staff and faculty were all very kind and helpful. I never felt uncomfortable whenever I was at the school and the convenient/easily accessible location was a bonus. It was such a thrill to learn about another culture from that culture. This was an unforgettable experience and I recommend anyone planning to live and study in Florence, Italy to do so through Florence University of the Arts!

Academics:
Very thorough, eye opening, and intriguing. I was very pleased to have Italian teachers that were proficient in speaking English.

Living Situation:
The apartment was relatively filthy when I arrived. It was hard to do any cleaning because of the language barriers and it seemed silly to buy a mop when I was only living there for three weeks. The only thing I would recommend would be to have a cleaning service weekly in the FUA apartments.

Cultural Immersion:
I didn't feel like I was able to be completely immersed within the culture because I wasn't given any tips on popular places for Italians to hang out at. All the recommendations I received were for "study abroad" pubs.

Program Administration:
Everyone in the staff and administration was very helpful and friendly. I was completely comfortable to go the staff for any need I had and they were welcoming with open arms.

Health and Safety:
Poorly lit streets and lack of police presence did make me feel nervous sometimes.

Social Life:
I never found a place where locals mingled with travelers.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

Unique classes made for an even better program!

FUA offers many unique classes in the arts such as photography, cooking, etc. I took both of these classes and learned more than any of my other academic classes I participated in.

Living Situation:
Amazing apartment and location

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    8

A worth while experience I will never forget!

I have no regrets with choosing FUA as my study abroad host school. They helped to immerse me throughout the city and throughout Italy through the Cultural class with Martina.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Why I recommend this program to everyone

I loved the program and wished I would have done a full semester instead of just a summer.

Academics:
The classes were well taught

Living Situation:
Our apartment was big, but it had mold and no sitting/living area

Cultural Immersion:
I love Florence, but because it is such a main city, everyone spoke English.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Life changing

Studying abroad in Florence changed my life. It was the best decision I have made so far and I miss it everyday.

Academics:
I felt that the classes were really interesting and the professors were awesome and always willing to help.

Living Situation:
I lived in a great apartment with a perfect location.

Cultural Immersion:
It would have been better to immerse the program more in Florence. I was always surrounded by fellow Americans and it would have been cool to be surrounded by more Italians

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Florence is to die for and you'll never want to leave!

Studying abroad in Florence with FUA was the greatest time of my whole life. It is almost too difficult to express what it is like. I was never more happy than when I was visiting museums, exploring the city with my friends, or taking in the night life. Every aspect of Florence will capture your heart and make you never want to leave.

Academics:
Being an art history major, Florence offers so much of it's own teaching simply by being what it is. But, my professors at FUA completely amazed me. They went above and beyond to make my educational experience one of a kind and life changing. I have never learned more about my chosen area of study then when I was in Florence with my professors. Whether I was in the classroom or the streets of one of Italy's amazing cities, I was constantly learning.

Living Situation:
My apartment was ADOREBALE. I could not have asked for anything better. Everyone who saw it commented on how nice it was. We had individual rooms, 2 bathrooms, a cozy kitchen and an awesome living room. My roommates and I really felt like it was our home.

Cultural Immersion:
When I was in Florence, I never once felt like I stood out as an American student. I felt like I was constantly being surrounded by culture and really felt like I lived an Italian lifestyle. Coming home was so difficult because I really missed every aspect of the culture. I took advantage of a lot of opportunities FUA offered me to really feel this way and it completely changed my experience.

Program Administration:
The staff at FUA is nothing but the absolute BEST. They were there for me whenever I needed anything. They respond to your emails right away and if you stopped in to the office, someone was always there to greet you!

Health and Safety:
It can be dangerous walking anywhere in a strange foreign city at night, but Florence is seriously so safe!

Social Life:
I made so many life long friends and had a blast experiencing the Italian culture social life!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

An experience you will never forget

The staff in charge of the program were friendly and great contacts to have when thats your only source of help in a new place. Couldn't have asked for kinder and more helpful and understanding leaders abroad. The students in the program are also awesome. No matter if its a slow or quick start to making friends, you will meet people you will never forget and you will love each and every one of them long after the trip is over.

Academics:
Engaged professors and good content.

Living Situation:
Always have three people together minimum.

Cultural Immersion:
More time in other cities at the start of the program rather than all through out.

Program Administration:
Helpful staff and very understanding to all students and situations.

Health and Safety:
The first apartment I lived in was not in what felt like the safest building or area, however we were heard out and moved immediately!

Social Life:
Had a blast with the people I met in and outside the program!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Ah, Firenze!

I stayed in a homestay in Florence, and the experience was truly priceless and I am immensely grateful. I was pleased with my classes (which were rich in Florentine / Italian art, architecture, and history) and my only real disappointment was that my classmates were not as committed to learning Italian and becoming immersed in the culture as I was. Still, I left feeling like I had learned what it is to be Italian, in some small way.

Academics:
Dafne Mazzanti's Italian Renaissance Architecture and Renaissance Art in Florence courses were absolutely top notch and were challenging, stimulating, and thoroughly enjoyable. My other courses were good, but her classes were truly memorable!

Living Situation:
I lived with a retired architect on the edge of town and she was a wonderful hostess and made me feel like family.

Cultural Immersion:
I wish I had taken more classes in Italian!

Program Administration:
Everything was very well organized, but I had originally signed up for 18 credits, and was told I had to drop a class (which I had really wanted to take) and I still don't quite understand the philosophy behind that.

Health and Safety:
I never once felt unsafe.

Social Life:
I made wonderful friends and great memories.